Why Ben Roethlisberger's Suspension Is a Step Down a Slippery Slope

Larry DavidCorrespondent IApril 22, 2010

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 19:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers practices on April 19, 2010 at the Pittsburgh Steelers South Side training facility in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

A 22-year college senior decides she prefers 15 minutes of fame and an undisclosed settlement to looking for a job in this economy. After five minutes of Internet research, she finds a name of a bar a high-profile professional athlete likes to frequent.

The following Friday, she finds him there.

She approaches him, flirts with him, laughs with him. He excuses himself to use the restroom, she follows, unbeknown to him.

In the restroom, she confronts him, throwing herself at him. 

At first he resists, but when a hot 22 year-old girl is shoving her tongue down a straight man's throat, resistance is going to be futile. She pushes him into an empty stall, other patrons looking on in astonishment.

Inside the stall, after five minutes of fooling around, she abruptly changes her tune.

To the shock of the athlete, she suddenly acts as if she wants nothing to do with him, screaming, "No!" and "Stop it," which he immediately does.

"What's wrong?" he says.

"I said 'No!'" she snaps.

She deliberately bangs her head against the side of stall, followed by a scream of "Ow!"

She exits, rushes out of the bathroom, leaving a confused and suddenly paranoid man with his thoughts.

She runs to the police. The police run to the media. The story runs to the league commissioner.

The commissioner suspends the athlete despite no charges being filed because, "the Personal Conduct Policy makes clear that I may impose discipline 'even where the conduct does not result in conviction of a crime' as, for example, where the conduct 'imposes inherent danger to the safety and well being of another person.' "

Career tarnished. Money lost. Reputation poisoned.

Is this the story of Ben Roethlisberger? No.

Is this an extreme version of something that could very easily happen to any professional athlete being pursued by a young woman? Yes.

Extreme, but very possible.

Athletes these days should be aware of this reality.

Why Roethlisberger was chasing a 19-year old at a seedy bar when he could probably be having a threesome at his mansion with two Playmates is beyond me, but to each his own.

Poor decision? Yes. Punishable by suspension? LUDICROUS.

Roger Goodell needs to take a step back for some self-reflection.

How is it justified to suspend a player when the LAW hasn't even obtained enough evidence for a case? Is he going to do this every time a floozie cries assault?

Now, to be clear, I am not saying Roethilisberger did not do anything wrong, or that he didn't assault the girl, etc. I was not there in that hallway with the two of them. I, same as Mr. Goodell, cannot accurately make that judgment.

The personal conduct policy needs to be amended, because its current language allows for Goodell to simply suspend at will anyone who, in his mind, doesn't live up to the "standard" of an NFL player.

What's next? Suspension for speeding tickets? Jaywalking? Free thought?

Mr. Goodell, you are not a police detective. You are the commissioner of a sports league.

If authorities find no grounds for charges, it's certainly absurd for you to tamper legacies and take money out of people's pockets in an effort to morally cleanse the league.

If some girl who follows an athlete around the entire night and whose explanation of what happened is literally,  "He then had sex with me," can wreak havoc on a career, what are we opening the door to?

If this gets six games, Shaun Rodgers better get a lifetime ban.

Behavioral classes for Roethlisberger, fine. But get real, Goodell.

I know you strive to implement the athletic version of Sharia Law over your kingdom, but can we leave that to the Taliban, please?


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